USA | 17 minutes | 2012
Narrative short film by Andrew Coughlin
Starring AiVy Bui, Wendy Eng
A Second Home
Twin girls adopted from Korea lose their parents in a plane crash. One twin wants to find their birth parents in Korea; the other doesn’t.
CineAsian Films (CAF): This is obviously a very personal story for you. Did you include a lot of your own experiences in this film?
Andrew Coughlin: A Second Home was my first short film dating all the way back to 2012. While it’s not exactly based on my own life, I wanted to come up with a simple story centered on adopted twins. And so I started thinking about my twin sister and me, and how we’ve never really showed much interest in our Korean heritage, which I think stems from us being adopted into an all white family in the Midwest. But then I started to wonder: if you took away our adopted parents, would that kick up any interest in wanting to learn about our culture and possibly seek out our birth parents?
CAF: A Second Home was made with a micro-budget. What were some obstacles you faced during production, and how did you overcome it?
Coughlin: So, A Second Home was made with a zero dollar budget. With it being my first short, I didn’t want to try and raise money, or even ask my family for any. That being said, I was lucky to get all the locations for free, all the essential film gear through crew members, and all the editing could be done where I worked. I was also lucky to have found actors and crew members who were more excited about the project rather than getting paid. But because I knew there would be absolutely no money to make my film, I knew I’d have to write a script that was easily shootable. So that meant no period period pieces, no heavy special effects, no car explosions, etc. While it was just a simple drama with two major characters, the biggest obstacle was time. Because of everyone’s schedule, I could only get two production days. So I had to create a pretty ambitious shot list with minimal set-ups while also consolidating our locations. Day 1 was at my then twin sister’s house, and day 2 was at the employer I used to work for. But it all worked out in the end with us making both days on time.
CAF: What do you hope people can take away from this personal story?
Coughlin: Well, I know not everyone will be able to relate to my film, but I hope that on a basic level, people can identify with wanting to know who they are and where they come from. It’s definitely something I’ve struggled with, but as I’ve gotten older, it’s become more of a curiosity.
CAF: Do you have any projects in the works right now?
Coughlin: With COVID, I’ve mostly just been focusing on screenwriting. And in a way that’s a good thing because prior to the pandemic, I was pretty lazy having gone months without writing. But with a bit more free time on my hands, I’ve finished writing another short, and have started writing my first feature.
A Second Home is one of the many great projects shared with CineAsian Films through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them, submit your film.
Director, Writer, Producer, Editor: Andrew Coughlin
Cinematographer: Chris Commons
Songs by: Himal Sherchan
Also featuring: Krystal Heib, Jessica Waggoner